Governor Cuomo Announces $2.6 Million to Prevent Drug Use and Underage Drinking on 20 SUNY and CUNY College Campuses

May 1, 2017

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Drug Use and Underage Drinking Prevention Efforts Specifically Targeted at Students from 18 to 24 Years Old


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.5 million has been awarded to 20 SUNY and CUNY Colleges in 17 counties across New York to help prevent and reduce underage drinking and drug use. The funding will support the development of campus community coalitions and foster community partnerships to help strengthen local prevention efforts and will be specifically targeted at students from 18 to 24 years of age.

"College is a formative time in young people’s lives and it is critical that we provide our students with the necessary tools to avoid making bad decisions with potentially life-altering consequences," Governor Cuomo said. "Through campaigns aimed at combatting drug use and underage drinking, we can help set students on the right path by creating a campus environment that fosters education, awareness and growth for all."

The initiative further advances the Governor’s goal of promoting strategies that prevent underage drinking and equip students and their families with essential knowledge, while continuing to make state campuses and communities safer.

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "Experimenting with drugs and alcohol in college is not a harmless rite of passage: it can have serious lifelong consequences. This funding will help prevent needless tragedies and help to protect students and our communities from the harm caused by underage drinking and drug use."

To make the funding available, OASAS issued a request for applications in November 2016. The governor committed a total of $2.5 million annually to fund drug and alcohol prevention programs targeted at college-age youth in the selected schools. Each college awarded funding will receive up to $125,000 annually for five years. The first period will begin on July 1, 2017 and end on June 30, 2022.

The following college campus communities in New York State will receive funding:

  • University of Buffalo, Erie County
  • State University of New York at Buffalo State, Erie County
  • State University of New York at New Paltz, Ulster County
  • Stony Brook University, Suffolk County
  • State University of New York at Albany, Albany County
  • Purchase College SUNY, Westchester County
  • College of Staten Island, Richmond County
  • College at Brockport, Monroe County
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins/Cortland Counties
  • State University of New York College at Cortland, Cortland County
  • Herkimer College, Herkimer County
  • Binghamton University, Broome County
  • Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County
  • Suffolk Community College, Suffolk County
  • Farmingdale State College, Suffolk County
  • John Jay College, New York County
  • Baruch College, New York County
  • The City College of New York, New York County
  • Lehman College, Bronx County
  • State University of New York at Geneseo, Livingston County

The programs the colleges develop are expected to achieve an overall decrease in problems related to alcohol and drug use, such as academic difficulties, alcohol overdoses and injuries, and assaults. Other objectives include:

  • Reducing alcohol and drug access and availability on the campus and in the surrounding community;
  • Changing attitudes and norms that support college underage drinking and drug use, including prescription drug misuse; and
  • Providing Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment services to college students as appropriate.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, "This funding will go a long way in providing a supportive environment both on and off campus to prevent underage drinking and drug use. We applaud the Governor for making such an important investment in the safety and wellbeing of SUNY students so that they have a best opportunity for a quality education."

James B. Milliken, the Chancellor of The City University of New York said, "A college education and a healthy college experience lay the foundation for personal and professional success and it opens the door to opportunity. Drug and alcohol abuse close those doors and are gateways to dependency and frustration. Governor Cuomo's initiative will be invaluable in providing students and their families with the essential knowledge they need to avoid those pitfalls, while helping to make our campuses and communities safer."

Senator George Amedore, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, said, "This investment will continue to build on our efforts to ensure access to prevention and awareness at all levels, and provide students on our college campuses with the resources they need to make smart choices and avoid the dangers of addiction."

Senator Ken LaValle, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said, "Far too many young adults across that state suffer from drug and alcohol addiction.  Education and prevention are critically important tools in the fight against these devastating dependencies. This state funding will provide valuable resources for the SUNY and CUNY campuses in their work to combat drug use and underage drinking during the student’s formative years."

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said, "Our colleges and universities must partner with us to help educate our young people about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. This funding, part of our broader efforts to take on the addiction crisis plaguing our state, will provide these 20 SUNY and CUNY colleges with needed to help prevent addiction and save some lives."

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Chairperson of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, said, "For many young people, going to college is their first experience living away from home. This can be an exciting time full of new opportunities, but it can be easy for students to lose their way by using drugs and alcohol. This funding will assist these colleges in supporting young people through their college careers without having their education derailed by drug use and underage drinking."

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at oasas.ny.gov/CombatAddiction to learn more about how you can help to #CombatAddiction in your community.

Visit www.combatheroin.ny.gov for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015-16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally-sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree are SUNY alumni. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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